There is a narrative that the Green Bay Packers under Ted Thompson use their pre-draft visits primarily on players in whom they are interested but who are generally not highly-sought-after prospects. While teams who draft near the top of round one often spend most of their 30 visits on determining who would be a good fit for their first pick, the Packers tend to focus
Or so the narrative goes.
Well, in this situation, the narrative is absolutely correct. In the past four years, the Packers have been allowed to bring in 120 players for private visits before those years’ drafts. To start with, the names of the players who have been reported are generally those who are viewed as day-three draft picks or potential free agents.
There are a few exceptions to that rule, however. The Packers have been known to bring in for visits players who have off-the-field issues that may require more investigation. It is likely that these visits consist primarily of interviews with the player in a more private setting. Recent examples include running back Joe Mixon this year and edge rusher Noah Spence in 2016.
We do not know the identities of all 120 players who visited the Packers in the past four years — only a total of 77 individuals have been reported — but the number of visitors who landed with the Packers is still astounding. 17 of the ended up as Packers for at least some period of time during their rookie seasons, a hit rate of 22% when looking at just the reported visits. None were drafted higher than the sixth round, and the vast majority were signed as undrafted free agents immediately after the draft. However, a few players did land with the Packers later on that season - Joe Kerridge, for example, signed first with Washington, but the Packers picked him up during the middle of last season.
Here is a look at the reports of draft visits in Green Bay and which players who visited the Packers ended up being selected or signing with the team as free agents.
Signed as UDFAs shortly after NFL Draft: RB Don Jackson, OL Josh James, CB Makinton Dorleant
Acquired later: FB Joe Kerridge, OL Kyle Steuck
Drafted: FB Aaron Ripkowski (6th round)
Signed as UDFAs: WR Ricky Collins, WR Adrian Coxson, G Matt Rotheram
Acquired later: QB Ryan Williams
Signed as UDFAs: G Justin McCray, ILB Joe Thomas, G John Fullington
Drafted: WR Kevin Dorsey (7th round), WR Charles Johnson (7th round), OLB Nate Palmer (6th round)
Signed as UDFAs: G Lane Taylor
2016: 5 of 27
2015: 5 of 20
2014: 3 of 20
2013: 4 of 10